Ancient Monuments

History on the Ground

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Stone circle 650m south west of Lune Head Farm

A Scheduled Monument in Lunedale, County Durham

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Latitude: 54.5786 / 54°34'43"N

Longitude: -2.2328 / 2°13'58"W

OS Eastings: 385048.882779

OS Northings: 520406.509222

OS Grid: NY850204

Mapcode National: GBR DHVH.DG

Mapcode Global: WHB47.N5YS

Entry Name: Stone circle 650m south west of Lune Head Farm

Scheduled Date: 24 November 2000

Last Amended: 25 June 2001

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1020154

English Heritage Legacy ID: 34355

County: County Durham

Civil Parish: Lunedale

Traditional County: Yorkshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): County Durham


The monument includes a prehistoric stone circle in Lunedale. The main part of
the circle is situated about 14m from the south side of the B6276 road, and
one outlying stone is situated 5m from the road.
The circle consists of six boulders in an arc which, with two other boulders
further west, forms an oval 10.5m by 7m. About 9m to the north east is the
outlying stone which appears to be associated with the oval, and is considered
to be part of the stone circle. The stones forming the oval range in size from
0.5m by 0.3m by 0.3m to 1.5m by 1m by 0.5m and 1.2m by 0.5m by 0.8m. The
outlying stone measures 1.5m by 0.6m by 0.6m.

The site of the monument is shown on the attached map extract.
It includes a 2 metre boundary around the archaeological features,
considered to be essential for the monument's support and preservation.

Source: Historic England

Reasons for Scheduling

Stone circles are prehistoric monuments comprising one or more circles of
upright or recumbent stones. The circle of stones may be surrounded by
earthwork features such as enclosing banks and ditches. Single upright stones
may be found within the circle or outside it and avenues of stones radiating
out from the circle occur at some sites. Burial cairns may also be found close
to and on occasion within the circle. Stone circles are found throughout
England although they are concentrated in western areas, with particular
clusters in upland areas such as Bodmin and Dartmoor in the south-west and the
Lake District and the rest of Cumbria in the north-west. This distribution may
be more a reflection of present survival rather than an original pattern.
Where excavated they have been found to date from the Late Neolithic to the
Middle Bronze Age (c.2400-1000 BC). It is clear that they were carefully
designed and laid out, frequently exhibiting very regularly spaced stones, the
heights of which also appear to have been of some importance. We do not fully
understand the uses for which these monuments were originally constructed but
it is clear that they had considerable ritual importance for the societies
that used them. In many instances excavation has indicated that they provided
a focus for burials and the rituals that accompanied interment of the dead.
Some circles appear to have had a calendrical function, helping mark the
passage of time and seasons, this being indicated by the careful alignment of
stones to mark important solar or lunar events such as sunrise or sunset at
midsummer or midwinter. At other sites the spacing of individual circles
throughout the landscape has led to a suggestion that each one provided some
form of tribal gathering point for a specific social group. A small stone
circle comprises a regular or irregular ring of between 7 and 16 stones with a
diameter of between 4 and 20 metres. They are widespread throughout England
although clusters are found on Dartmoor, the North Yorkshire Moors, in the
Peak District and in the uplands of Cumbria and Northumberland. Of the 250 or
so stone circles identified in England, over 100 are examples of small stone
circles. As a rare monument type which provides an important insight into
prehistoric ritual activity, all surviving examples are worthy of

The prehistoric stone circle 650m south west of Lune Head Farm survives well.
It is part of a wider distribution of prehistoric features in the Tees
catchment area, which includes hut circles, field systems, cairns, carved
rocks, burnt mounds and stone circles. Together these features preserve
important information on prehistoric settlement, land use and beliefs in the
North Pennines.

Source: Historic England

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